If a person is contemplating a divorce, preparation can be very helpful. First, and foremost, always make sure you have access to money. If all money and accounts are controlled by one spouse, and a divorce is filed by the other spouse, the one without access to money has a difficult time hiring an attorney or paying the ordinary expenses of living. Therefore, always make sure you have access to money. Most courts in Texas have Standing Orders. If not, the party filing suit usually requests a Temporary Restraining Order. The effect of both is, neither party may make changes to their financial picture. Therefore, you can’t move money from one account to another; can’t change beneficiaries under policies of insurance; can’t remove someone from a cell phone program or auto insurance. If your check is direct deposit, you can’t change where it is direct deposited.
Additionally, it’s best to stay off social media before and during a divorce.
Are There Any Benefits To Filing First For Divorce?
The main benefit for being the first to file for divorce is that you are more financially prepared. Specifically, you have made sure you have access to money. From a legal standpoint, the person who files the petition called the “petitioner” is allowed to go first and last at any trial. Most experts agree that when giving a presentation, what is said first, and what is said last are the two most important points made in the presentation. So there is a benefit to being the petitioner and getting to go first and last at a trial. Short of going to trial, however, there is no significant benefit.
How Long Do Divorce Cases Generally Take To Resolve?
The length of time it takes to finalize the divorce is generally driven by two issues, how much fighting is going to occur between the parties, especially with regard to child issues, and what is the value of the estate. The greater value of the estate of the parties the longer it generally takes to finalize a divorce. Be aware that parties generally may not finalize a divorce within the first 60 days after the filing of the petition for divorce.
Why Do People Generally Seek Modification Of Divorce Decrees?
Parties have several reasons for seeking a modification of the original divorce decree. Rarely is it related to property issues. Property issues are more regularly addressed in Motions for Contempt or Motions to Enforce. Child issues are the basis for most Motions to Modify. Examples are as follows;
- One parent wants to change who is primary, or in other words, wants the exclusive right to determine domicile of the child;
- One of the parents wants to change the visitation schedule;
- One of the parents wants to increase or decrease the amount of child support; and,
- One of the parents wants to relocate.
Is Alimony Awarded In Every Divorce Case In Texas?
No. In Texas, there is no statutory alimony, only spousal maintenance. However, contractual alimony has been sanctioned by Texas courts since 1967. Statutory Spousal Maintenance first came to Texas in 1997. Therefore, a court may order maintenance for either spouse only if the spouse seeking maintenance lacks sufficient property, including the spouse’s separate property, to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs and,
- the spouse from whom maintenance is requested was convicted of or received, deferred adjudication for a criminal offense that constitutes family violence committed during the marriage against the other spouse or the other spouses child, and the offense occurred:
- within 2 years before the date the dissolution of marriage is filed, or
- while the suit is pending or
- The spouse seeking maintenance:
- Is unable to earn sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs because of an incapacitating physical or mental disability;
- Has been married to the other spouse for 10 years or longer, and lacks the ability to earn sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs; or
- Is the custodian of a child of the marriage of any age who require substantial care and personal supervision because of physical or mental disability that prevents a spouse from earnings division income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs.
The statute was not meant to provide alimony or spousal support for a party of a particular gender, but rather one that needs the statutory requirements.
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